Wales appoint Gemma Grainger to succeed Jayne Ludlow

Gemma Grainger will take over the reigns as the Wales women’s team manager

Gemma Grainger admits the ambition of leading the Wales women’s team to a major tournament was behind her decision to leave the England set-up.

Grainger had been with the Football Association since 2007 and worked with the England women’s age group set-up as head coach of teams from under-15 to under-23 level.

She has signed a four-year contract to succeed Jayne Ludlow, who left in January and steered a rise up the world rankings during her seven years in charge but was unable to lead Wales to the European Championship or World Cup finals.

“Women’s football is my passion,” said Grainger, a UEFA Pro Licence holder. “The ambition of the association (FAW) and the players within the team attracted me to the job.

“Some fantastic foundations have been built here, and the most exciting thing is building on that and seeing what the next chapter can be. It’s an opportunity for me and the players to write that new chapter. The potential within the group and fulfilling that potential excited me the most.”

Grainger will take charge for the first time next month when Wales play 2023 World Cup qualifying warm-up friendlies against Canada and Denmark.

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She will focus on putting her backroom staff together after those games before World Cup qualification starts later in the year.

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“My career has been very deliberate and for me it’s always about the right opportunity at the right time,” Grainger said.“I’ve been to seven major tournaments as a head coach and this was the right role.

“Who wouldn’t want to work with a group of players that we have and the ambition is to qualify for a major tournament. Ultimately it’s about us looking at where the potential gaps are, because the margins are fine at this level.”

Baroness Sue Campbell, the FA’s director of women’s football, said: “This is a great opportunity for Gemma and we of course wish her well.

“We have spoken a lot of late about the Lionesses’ pathway helping to provide roles for coaches to develop their skills and take the next step.

“This is vitally important for increasing the talent pool and can only benefit the wider women’s game in years to come.

“While we are sad to see her go, it will also mean more chance for others to show what they can do as we look towards a tremendously exciting period including the home Euro next year.”

PA

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